RETALIATION

Avoid appearance of retaliation against whistle-blowers

10/30/2014
To constitute whistle-blowing, employees must do more than merely state that they are going to complain about the employer’s actions. They must actually do so. Whistle-blowers don’t have to demonstrate an actual violation of the law as long as they have a reasonable, good-faith belief that a violation of the law has occurred or might.

Appeals court: Employee doesn't have to be first whistle-blower to be protected

10/27/2014

Public employees are protected from retaliation for reporting wrongdoing at work, either within their chain of command or to appropriate authorities. But what if several employees report the same alleged wrongdoing?

In Minnesota, encourage internal complaint process to protect against whistle-blower lawsuits

10/14/2014

Minnesota employees who believe they were punished for refusing to engage in illegal activities can sue under two distinct but related laws. First, they may have a claim under Minnesota’s Whistleblower Act. Second, they can sue under the state common law for wrongful discharge. Each law has a different standard.

Note time, circumstances of firing decision

10/14/2014

Employees may begin suspecting that their job is in danger before management has a chance to implement a discharge decision. That’s when you can expect them to complain about harassment or discrimination. Or, in Minnesota, they may request a copy of their personnel file to see what’s in it and prepare for a potential lawsuit. Beat that strategy by carefully documenting the discharge process.

Minnesota High Court's double-trouble decision

10/14/2014
Here’s some disturbing news, courtesy of the Minnesota Supreme Court: When a supervisor threatens an employee with punishment or discharge for filing a workers’ compensation claim, that threat alone is grounds for a lawsuit.

Court: Bullying alone isn't grounds for lawsuit

10/08/2014
A former employee has tried to advance a new legal theory by suing over alleged workplace bullying. His efforts failed and employers won’t have to worry about another new lawsuit flood.

Be prepared when employees become whistle-blowers

09/26/2014
Legislators are creating new protections for those who report vio­lations to regulatory agencies.

Complaining about unfairness isn't protected

09/26/2014
Life can be unfair. When an em­­ployee complains about unfairness at work, make sure you document the complaint and make some notes on exactly what she said. If you can show she never mentioned sex, race, age or some other protected characteristic as the underlying reason for the “unfair” treatment she complained about, she hasn’t engaged in “protected activity” and can’t bring a retaliation claim against her employer.

NYC law makes it easier for employees to win

09/05/2014

Not long ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made it harder for em­­ployees to prove retaliation under Title VII anti-discrimination provisions. Under the New York City Human Rights Law, employees need only prove retaliation was an important motive in an adverse employment decision, not the only one.

Company settles OSHA retaliation case for $100,000

09/02/2014
McKees Rocks Industrial Enterprises has agreed to settle a retaliation case brought by a former employee who had complained of safety violations at the freight-handling company’s terminal near Pittsburgh. OSHA contends that the general laborer’s complaints led directly to an inspection by federal safety authorities—and that the man was immediately transferred and eventually fired as a result.

Beware sudden scrutiny after employee voices bias concerns

09/02/2014
Have an adequate but not outstanding employee? Be careful if he engages in some form of protected activity. Sud­denly deciding he’s not good enough may spark a retaliation lawsuit.

The case of the purloined letter: Real resignation or post-affair retaliation?

09/02/2014

Here’s a big reason to ban supervisor/subordinate relationships: When those affairs end, trouble for employers often begins. The subordinate, who may have been a willing participant, may now claim she was being sexually harassed. Or the supervisor may punish the subordinate for cutting off the relationship. Either way, there’s probably a lawsuit coming.

Internal report of wrongdoing not enough to trigger whistle-blower protection

09/02/2014
Texas public employees are protected from retaliation for reporting wrongdoing to an appropriate law enforcement agency. But except in very rare cases, it’s not enough to file an internal complaint that someone within the employee’s agency is breaking the law.

It may be scandalous, but reporting co-worker sexual shenanigans isn't protected activity

09/02/2014

Employees who report what they perceive as offensive sexual conduct to their employer may think they are engaged in so-called protected activity. That’s rarely the case. While the sexual activity they observe may indeed be offensive in the workplace, reporting it doesn’t mean the employee suddenly has protection from retaliation.

DOL sues to reinstate L.A. union whistle-blower

08/29/2014
A DOL lawsuit claims that Los Angeles-based Cement Masons South­­ern Cali­­for­­nia Administrative Cor­­p. illegally fired an em­­ployee for cooperating with a federal investigation. The corporation managed assets for five Cement Masons employee benefits trusts in southern California.
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